Review: Before the Fall by Noah Hawley

Title: Before the Fall
Author: Noah Hawley
Pages: 400
Genre: Fiction, Mystery
Source: Free ARC from Grand Central Publishing

Rating: A

Note: As stated under the Source (above), I received this book for free from Grand Central Publishing via NetGalley in exchange for my honest review (and trust me, honest is always what you’ll get).

Review: Wow. I don’t even…*deep breath out*…this was SO good. A little twisty-turny, a lot of reflection on the value of a life, what a life consists of, the flexibility of it. A heavy hit on the media and the way it twists a story into something so far from the truth that those involved don’t recognize it. One of the lines in the books says something about how news has changed from reporting the truth and has instead become entertainment, and it is just so true. Sickening and true. There is just so much meat to this book, so much to think about and consider, that I know I’ll be chewing on it for months to come.

What to say, what to say…the writing is flawless and flowy. From the first, I fell straight in, properly lost in the story and the characters. Scott was exquisitely flawed and just so easy to love. As we learn more about why the plane crash happened, we learn more background on the individuals involved – the victims mostly. Meanwhile, we see the media – or certain less palatable (less respectable!) portions of the media – manipulate the story and the viewing public by filling in the blanks with their most horrific guesses, going to unethical and illegal lengths to obtain information that will taint the story and support their theories, and in so doing, potentially destroying the lives of people who are already suffering – the survivors. It is disturbing and nauseating and infuriatingly accurate.

It’s interesting that this book came into my life in this moment in time because I was an avid news watcher until recently. I’ve been watching reporters I trust sell out and I just can’t trust a word they say anymore. CNN maybe. PBS perhaps. But I’m a much more skeptical viewer than I have ever been. And there is so much of the why of that in this book.

But another part that hit home for me is the reality that people, even the worst of people, are often (not always) so much more than what most of us ever see. People are emotionally complex. They put on different masks for different situations. We only see what they allow us to see. When people do horrific things, we label them as evil, and maybe sometimes they are, but I think that label oversimplifies, and it does so at a cost to all of us. And the good people? They have skeletons. We have all done things we aren’t proud of, lived through hard things that changed who we are. No one and nothing is ever as clear cut as we imagine. We would be better off as a society if we spent a little more time thinking critically about the information that is presented to us rather than falling into the trap of the stories that are spun for us.

But I digress…GREAT book. So, so great! Definitely a must read!

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